How to Qualify for the Canadian Experience Class

October 19, 2023


  • Wesley Allan

So, you've had the chance to live and work in Canada for over a year but don't know how to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency or find which pathway to Canada PR is best for you. Fortunately, the government of Canada has created the perfect path for you. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of the safest and fastest pathways to getting your Canadian PR.

This program is one of the three Express Entry programs, meaning if you apply for permanent residence through this program, you could be a permanent resident of Canada in six months. However, this program is only for a selected group of applicants, so knowing how to qualify for the CEC is essential.

While there is a particular set of requirements for this program, if you meet the criteria, your chances of receiving your Canada PR are far higher than in the other Express Entry programs - the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. However, understanding the path to qualify for the CEC can often be overwhelming. This comprehensive guide is designed to assist you on this journey. We will demystify the process and provide all the necessary information to help you qualify for the CEC.

What is the CEC?

Canadian Experience Class

The CEC is an economic immigration program under the Express Entry system specifically for skilled foreign workers who have already been living and working in Canada for at least one year under some temporary resident status like a Working Holiday Visa, a work permit, or a study permit. Learn more about the Express Entry System below:

To be considered for the CEC, applicants should start by checking their eligibility for this program, and once this is established, an Express Entry profile will be created on the Government of Canada's website. Details such as your nationality, age, marital status, qualifications, language ability, and work experience are evaluated by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to create a CRS score. The CRS scores are entered into the Express Entry pool for your program.

Every two weeks, the government of Canada runs an Express Entry draw, which picks all applicants with a CRS score higher than a certain number in each program and presents them with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canada PR. Successful applicants have 60 days to submit the required documentation for processing—the number changes based on the size and strength of the Express Entry pool.

These applicants are often perfect for Canada's Express Entry system as they have already spent a significant amount of time in Canada and have usually assimilated into the Canadian culture and workforce and, therefore, don't need to get settled.

However, to qualify for the CEC, you must fulfill all the significant criteria for Express Entry and the CEC.

How to Qualify for The Canadian Experience Class

CEC Canada

Step 1: Determine the CEC Requirements

Understanding the CEC requirements is The first step in qualifying for the Canadian Experience Class. IRCC sets these requirements and includes factors such as work experience, language skills, etc.

To qualify for the CEC, you have to ensure your Express Entry credentials are at a certain level. Requirements for the Canadian Experience Class are as follows:

The Canadian Experience Class Requirements
Work Experience You must have 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada. The work experience must be:
  • in a full-time position
  • the equivalent time in a part-time position;
  • obtained legally in Canada;
  • from Training Education Experience and Responsibility (TEER) 0, 1, 2 and 3
Education There is no education requirement. However, you can increase your CRS score by:
  • earning a certificate, diploma, or degree from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • completing a foreign credential
As a CEC applicant, you will have likely already completed one to get your job in Canada, and since an ECA is valid for five years, you can submit your original ECA again.
Language Ability You must:
  • Present your approved language ability test
  • Meet the language requirement of CLB 7 for National Occupational Classification (NOC) Training Education Experience and Responsibility (TEER) 0 or 1 jobs or Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for TEER 2 and 3 jobs.
You will likely need to submit one of the Canadian language tests and get a CLB to get your temporary resident status. As a CLB score is valid for up to two years, you can probably submit your original score, provided it was high enough for your CEC application.
Criminal Record There must be no prior criminal record before entering Canada, and you must have obeyed the law while in Canada. You may be asked to present a police certificate to validate this.
Medical Certification You must be in good health, often certified by a medical certificate. However, if you have already been in Canada for over a year, the government of Canada won't ask this of you.
Travel Documents All your travel documents must be current and valid throughout your entire Express Entry application process, including the processing time.

If you fulfill the Canadian Experience Class requirements, you will likely qualify for Express Entry. The next step is applying for permanent residence via the Express Entry Portal, which can be done on the Canadian immigration site. It is facilitated and managed on your behalf by our skilled team of RCICs. If you are selected for an ITA, you will have 60 days to submit all your documents - these documents must validate the information you provided on your Express profile and application. But with the continued support of our team, all applications will be managed with sheer precision, giving you the best chance of success. Once you do that, you will receive your Canada PR visa within approximately six months.


If your documents are incomplete, incorrect, outdated, or invalid, your processing times may change as you must submit further documentation. Applicants must, therefore, remain truthful when providing their information, as failure will result in your application being returned to you. We strongly recommend a reputable partner to manage these affairs, as there are a multitude of pathways, requirements, and opportunities!

Step 2: Get a Job in Canada

To qualify for the Canadian Experience Class, you must have work experience in Canada in a job classified under NOC skill type 0 or TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 for at least a year. These include managerial jobs (TEER 0), professional jobs (TEER 1), technical jobs (TEER 2), and skilled trades (TEER 3).

The most straightforward way to gain Canadian work experience is to move to Canada and start working. However, you must first obtain a valid work permit. It's important to note that work experience gained while studying in Canada doesn't count towards the CEC's work experience requirement. Also, self-employment and work experience gained while you were not authorized to work in Canada do not count.

Step 3: Get a Canadian Work Permit

To work in Canada, you need a work permit. This permit allows you to legally work in Canada for a specific employer and a specified period. There are different types of work permits, and the one you need depends on the nature of the job, the location of the job, and other factors. Learn how to get a Canadian work permit.

Remember, getting a job offer in Canada doesn't automatically qualify you for a work permit. You must apply separately for a work permit, which can be complex. It's advisable to seek professional help or use the resources available on the IRCC website to understand the process.

Step 4: Ensure Your Language Results are Still Valid or Sit a Language Test

Language proficiency in English or French is a key requirement for the CEC. You must take a language test approved by IRCC to prove your proficiency. Your test results must be under two years old when you submit your application for permanent residence.

Also, remember that the language test results are essential to your Express Entry profile and are used in the CRS calculator to compute your CRS score. The higher your language proficiency, the higher your CRS score and the better your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence. Learn more about Canada's language requirements

Step 5: Ensure Your Documents are Valid and Up-to-date

Before submitting your application for the Canadian Experience Class, ensure all your documents are valid and up-to-date. This includes your passport, work permit, employment records, language test results, and other documents required by IRCC.

Ensure that all the information you provide in your application is accurate and truthful. Any discrepancies or false information can lead to the rejection of your application or even legal consequences. Learn more about what documents you need to move to Canada.

How to Apply to the CEC via Express Entry Canada

Express Entry Canada

Step 1: Create an Online Express Entry Profile 

This is the first step in the application process. You must provide information about your skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details.

Step 2: Get your CRS Score

After you complete your Express Entry profile, you'll receive a CRS score. This score determines your rank in the Express Entry pool.

Step 3: Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

If your CRS score is among the highest in the pool, you'll receive an ITA for permanent residence.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Once you receive the ITA, you have 60 days to submit your application for permanent residence.

After you submit it, it will be processed by IRCC. The processing usually takes a few months, during which IRCC may request additional documents or information.

Qualifying for the Canadian Experience Class and obtaining Canadian permanent residency can seem daunting. However, understanding the process and requirements and diligently following each step can make your Canadian dream a reality.

The path to the CEC is a journey of perseverance, patience, and meticulous planning. As an immigrant, you are not alone in this journey. Numerous resources and support systems are available to help you navigate the complex landscape of Canadian immigration. Remember, every step you take brings you closer to your Canadian dream.

Now that you have this comprehensive guide, it's time to take the first steps towards your Canadian dream. Embrace the opportunities that await you in the great nation of Canada, and start your journey today!


Can You Apply for One of the Provincial Nominee Programs via the CEC?

Yes. All Express Entry applicants can apply for Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The PNPs allow you to apply to a specific province, but applicants must research their intended province before settling. Getting a provincial nomination means your CRS score will gain an extra 600 points, effectively guaranteeing you an ITA in the next Express Entry draw. Here's a complete breakdown to learn more about the PNP.

Can You Get Canadian Citizenship via the CEC?

No. The CEC is specifically providing permanent residence to skilled foreign workers. Permanent residents can live and work in Canada for the rest of their lives but can't vote or hold public office. However, getting your permanent residency means you can apply for Canadian citizenship. Learn more about getting Canadian citizenship.

Can You Apply for CEC if You Aren't Currently in Canada but Have Lived There for Over a Year?

No. The CEC is specifically for applicants who already live and work in Canada and have done so for the last 12 months without any breaks. Other applicants must apply via the other Express Entry streams.